No smoke with out fire: Abu Dhabi's smoke ban bad for business
Before the smoking ban, La Brioche made Dh50,000 (US$13,612) a day in revenues on Fridays and Saturdays but that has come down to Dh39,000,the waitress said.
Most of the tables around noon yesterday were empty at Galler, another mall coffee bar, where staff said customer numbers had declined since the introduction of the law.
About 40 people walk into the restaurant cafe per day compared 50 before the ban, said Musbah, a waiter at Galler who also declined to provide his last name. "The old guests have left, and the people who are coming now are new guests, different faces," he said.
"We used to get really good sales during the weekend, whereas now the money we make on those days are just like any ordinary work day," he added.
Health officials told The National in August they believed the new ban would not affect business for restaurants and cafes. Dr Sara Karrar, who works in the Public Health and Policy Department, reassured businesses and noted Dubai's shopping malls had imposed a blanket no-smoking policy without a law in place.
"The number of customers went down for a bit but it was brief," said Motaz Samaro, a manager at Cafe Supreme in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates.
"But when you have good service, quality and the customer is happy, they'll get used to it.
"There are a select few who can't drink a coffee without a cigarette and have learnt to take their coffee 'to go' and smoke outside."
A manager at Abu Dhabi Mall's Cafe Du Roi, who did not want to be named, said he had tried to stop people smoking at the cafe but saw other coffee shops were ignoring the law. The cafe has received five fines so far costing Dh20,000, he said. "For us, when we have smoking, we make Dh6,000 a day, while if we ban it we make Dh3,000. Break-even is at Dh5,000. If this continues we might even close."
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